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Old 06-13-07, 08:36 AM   #1
Mountain_Owl
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headlight/taillight or cycling vest for visibility

Which would be safer: a headlight/taillight combination, or a cycling vest like these?:

http://www.ledtronics.com/ds/VST-1004/default.asp

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/159...clist-Vest.htm ?

Thank you.
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Old 06-13-07, 08:41 AM   #2
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I am not sold on the vest with LEDs. I would just get a plain old cheap reflective vest and some front and rear lights. That should be plenty.
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Old 06-13-07, 09:28 AM   #3
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I would go with headlight, taillight. Not only will it help you be seen, it will allow you to see better as well. You can always add a vest later if you desire. Can probably pick one up locally at a sporting goods store/hardware store, or beside the road at a construction site!
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Old 06-13-07, 10:07 AM   #4
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Yes with the front and rear lights. Vests are OK. A white shirt, jersey, or jacket does not reflect as well as specialty tape but makes up for it with a much larger area. Try that too.
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Old 06-13-07, 10:20 AM   #5
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Search Google Images for "illuminite" and see how that looks to you. I have a vest and jacket, and it's made a huge difference in the way cars respond to me in night riding (I wear the vest in warm weather, the jacket when it's colder).
Head and taillights are always a good idea, but I don't think they contribute as much as riders seem to believe. The real point is for drivers to see YOU, and LEDs, even though they'll blind you from five feet away, don't stand out in city or suburban traffic--they're too small, and there are a lot of flashing white and red lights around.
This time of year I split my commute about equally between car and bike, and part of the route runs about five miles along a road that starts in the city, but ends in an area that's still fairly rural and dark. Bikes with LEDs are easy to spot at the far end, but they're all but invisible in town. Go for the largest reflective area you can get....
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Old 06-13-07, 10:30 AM   #6
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I say its hard to overdue. I often wear a blinkie on my helmet. A reflective vest with a flashing lcd stripe, A reflective ankle braclets, a headlight , a rear blinkie attached to my rear rack. And reflective striping on my helmet. In Vegas this would still probably not be enough.
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Old 06-13-07, 11:05 AM   #7
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Mountain_Owl, are you going to be doing any night riding, or is this just for daytime safety?

I would agree with head and tail lights if you are going to be riding at night, but if you are concerned right now with being seen in the daytime, then you may wish to consider something I use personally, an ANSI lime green vest.

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Old 06-13-07, 11:08 AM   #8
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I ride at night and the daytime. I always am wearing a lime green vest: Pearl Izumi during the day and a highway safety vest with wide reflective strips at night. I also use headlamps and blinkies for night riding.
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Old 06-13-07, 11:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velo Dog
Search Google Images for "illuminite" and see how that looks to you. I have a vest and jacket, and it's made a huge difference in the way cars respond to me in night riding (I wear the vest in warm weather, the jacket when it's colder).
Head and taillights are always a good idea, but I don't think they contribute as much as riders seem to believe. The real point is for drivers to see YOU, and LEDs, even though they'll blind you from five feet away, don't stand out in city or suburban traffic--they're too small, and there are a lot of flashing white and red lights around.
This time of year I split my commute about equally between car and bike, and part of the route runs about five miles along a road that starts in the city, but ends in an area that's still fairly rural and dark. Bikes with LEDs are easy to spot at the far end, but they're all but invisible in town. Go for the largest reflective area you can get....
I must watch too much 'Law & Order,' where things are sprayed with Luminol to pick up invisible spatter at crime scenes, because that's what came to mind when I Google'ed Illuminite. Yes, I have a morbid mind.
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Old 06-13-07, 11:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Hill
Mountain_Owl, are you going to be doing any night riding, or is this just for daytime safety?

I would agree with head and tail lights if you are going to be riding at night, but if you are concerned right now with being seen in the daytime, then you may wish to consider something I use personally, an ANSI lime green vest.

East Hill
I ride mostly in the daytime (getting old; sight was never great to begin with; only getting worse...one of the many penalties of aging), but occasionally, I'll visit my brother, and up to now, I'v left his place before it got too dark for my eyes.
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Old 06-13-07, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MillCreek
I ride at night and the daytime. I always am wearing a lime green vest: Pearl Izumi during the day and a highway safety vest with wide reflective strips at night. I also use headlamps and blinkies for night riding.
The problem with my current rear blinky (a cheap Schwinn thing) is that it's mounted on the seatpost, below a 'fanny pack'-type thing. The only way I can see to put the rear blinkie up on top of the 'fanny pack' is to remove the seat from the seat post & switch things around. On the other hand, the headlight is a cheap Schwinn halogen thing that isn't bright at all. I'm trying not to spend a lot of money, but perhaps I should get a better light set?
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Old 06-13-07, 04:31 PM   #12
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Use lights front and rear when its dark, about to get dark and if its raining, misting or foggy.

I worked for a government agency for 25 years. My office was the street. One of my responsibilities when setting up a work zone was to drive through it to see how safe it was, before work started. When we changed from orange to lime green vests about 10 years ago, the difference was dramatic. With an orange vest, a worker was almost invisible in shade, when viewed from a position in bright sunlight. With the ANSI lime green vest, they were immediately visible even in deep shade.

I wear one of these vests at all times on the bike now. The comment I hear most is: "You're really easy to see in that".
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Old 06-13-07, 07:34 PM   #13
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When riding at night, you should always use a headlight and taillight. In fact, it is a law, at least in MA, where I live. The vest is good too. I usually use one. The question of which is better should never come up because they are not alternatives. Lights are necessary. The vest is helpful in addition to lights but not necessary.
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Old 06-13-07, 07:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
The problem with my current rear blinky (a cheap Schwinn thing) is that it's mounted on the seatpost, below a 'fanny pack'-type thing. The only way I can see to put the rear blinkie up on top of the 'fanny pack' is to remove the seat from the seat post & switch things around. On the other hand, the headlight is a cheap Schwinn halogen thing that isn't bright at all. I'm trying not to spend a lot of money, but perhaps I should get a better light set?
I did an experiment a few months back. I bought a helmet and turned it into my 'night-riding' helmet. I applied various small strips and shapes of reflexite reflective tape all over it, bought a Black Diamond Spot headlamp ($43 at REI with one 1 watt Luxeon LED and three 5 mm LED) and a Planet Bike Superflash blinky. I stretched the headlamp strap around the helmet and hold it in place with a few zipties through the vents. I clipped the blinky to the rear of the headlamp strap at the very back of the helmet.

So now, for relatively little cost and relatively little weight, I have a portable night-riding solution that allows me to see and be seen. The blinky is up high enough that it is not blocked by any bags on the bike or any clothing. The headlamp is very bright, far brighter than my Lumotec halogen dynamo headlight and various small LED lights that clip to the handlebars. It is not blocked by my handlebar bags. I can set the headlamp to strobe if I am in any area that has enough light to see by. Simply by turning my head, I can sweep the headlamp across side streets as I cross an intersection or can shine it directly at a driver if they are approaching me unsafely.

So far, this approach has worked out really well for me. Total cost was $ 25 for the helmet, $ 26 for the blinky, $ 43 for the headlamp and $ 5 for the reflexite tape. Now mind you, my teenagers think I look like a total geek, but at this stage of my life, if I can wear something that mortifies them, that is a bonus.
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Old 06-13-07, 08:17 PM   #15
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All of the above. I use a headlight, taillight, reflective vest, and reflective ankle bands.
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Old 06-14-07, 02:53 AM   #16
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All of the above. I use a headlight, taillight, reflective vest, and reflective ankle bands.
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Old 06-14-07, 06:18 AM   #17
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I've spent so much on 'extras' for this bike that I'm resisting the urge to get a better lighting system, mainly because I'm on a fixed income.
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Old 06-14-07, 07:14 AM   #18
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I'd start with the ANSI lime-green vest, then. They are relatively cheap.

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Old 06-14-07, 08:37 AM   #19
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Good morning, East_Hill.

There's (presumably ANSI Class 1), as well as Class 2 & 3. What's the difference?

Last edited by Mountain_Owl; 06-14-07 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 06-14-07, 10:31 AM   #20
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Class 3 is recommended for the highest visibility, and offers the greatest visibility at night. Class 2 is superior to Class 1 for daytime use.

Highway flaggers wear at least Class 2. A flagger working at night would use Class 3.

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Old 06-14-07, 04:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsharr
I would go with headlight, taillight. Not only will it help you be seen, it will allow you to see better as well. You can always add a vest later if you desire. Can probably pick one up locally at a sporting goods store/hardware store, or beside the road at a construction site!
Ultimately, I took youe advice, jsharr.

Edit: I also took your advice, Dogbait, and just ordered the vest from that link.

Call it overkill. I call it paranoia on my part...terrified some idiot behind the wheel is more stupid (or careless) than I.

Last edited by Mountain_Owl; 06-14-07 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 06-14-07, 05:04 PM   #22
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I'm partial to these

I keep meaning to order another one as I lost my old one in a move
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Old 06-14-07, 05:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Hill
Class 3 is recommended for the highest visibility, and offers the greatest visibility at night. Class 2 is superior to Class 1 for daytime use.

Highway flaggers wear at least Class 2. A flagger working at night would use Class 3.

East Hill
Too bad the vest I just ordered is Class 2. Oh, well, better than nothing.
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Old 06-14-07, 08:16 PM   #24
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If the motorists can see a Class 2 wearing flagger, they'll spot you too!

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Old 06-14-07, 09:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
Too bad the vest I just ordered is Class 2. Oh, well, better than nothing.

That will be fine. Class 3 garments have additional reflective material on the arms and/or legs so you will probably not find a class 3 vest.

Here are the differences:

Class 3; background material 1240 in. (that is a really big vest), reflective material 310 in., reflective material minimum width 2 in., total length of reflective material 4.3 yd.,

Class 2; background material 775 in., reflective material 201 in., reflective material minimum width 1.375 in., total length of reflective material 4 yd. of 1.375 in. width or 2.8 yd. of 2 in. width.

That's why the flaggers had those spiffy, expensive jackets while the rest of us had to make do with a vest.

A typical class 2 vest with 1.375 in. tape will have two stripes around the waist and one using 2 in. tape will have only one stripe. The vest must have 360 reflective material and will have a strip of reflective tape down the sides to accomplish this.

As I understand it, there was some controversy a couple years ago over whether mesh material could be used with an overall in. measurement or if the area of the holes in the mesh had to be deducted. (your tax dollars at work). During that time, it was after I retired, I was asked several times by flaggers on a bridge project on one of my regular ride routes, if I would sell them my mesh vest.
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